LA RED TIG Week: Latinx-LGBTQ Intersectionality – Implications for Culturally Responsive Evaluation by David Garcia and Gregory Phillips II

Hola/Hello! We are Dr. David Garcia, a bilingual/bicultural Latinx public health researcher with extensive experience working with LGBTQ and Latinx communities, and Dr. Gregory Phillips II, an HIV epidemiologist with over a decade of work in culturally responsive evaluation with LGBTQ populations.

As our political climate continues to unjustly target and stigmatize many populations, we must be outspoken in our advocacy for Latinx communities – particularly those experiencing barriers to health and happiness. This is especially true about Latinx LGBTQ individuals, many of whom migrated seeking asylum due to persecution. We as evaluators must be sensitive to the needs of LGBTQ Latinx people and tailor our culturally responsive approaches to be more inclusive of this population – regardless of immigration status.

Based in the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality theory posits that a person’s identities aren’t held in isolation. Someone isn’t separately Latinx and LGBTQ, but has unique experiences as a result of holding both identities simultaneously – therefore, we must consider their experience uniquely. We can’t conduct culturally responsive evaluation without accounting for all identities and how they intersect.

Today, we want to share a few lessons we’ve learned about Latinx-LGBTQ intersectionality over the course of our work, and invite you to consider how you can provide culturally responsive support and advocacy for LGBTQ Latinx individuals in your own practice.

Lessons Learned:

Image of people from Broadly website
Image Credit: https://broadlygenderphotos.vice.com/

Appropriate terminology is key. Not all members of the Latino community relate to the term Latinx; similarly, the terms gay and bisexual don’t encompass all sexual minority identities. Engagement with Latinx LGBTQ communities is necessary to ensure an evaluation uses appropriate terminology. When applying an intersectional lens, this becomes even more important.

Remember – it’s not appropriate to lump all LGBTQ Latinx experiences together. Transgender people have many markedly different experiences than cisgender LGBQ Latinx individuals (who also have different experiences from each other!), and that diversity of experience needs to be valued.

We should never assume that the Latinx community is homogeneous. Many differences contribute to the diversity of Latinx populations: US-born versus foreign-born, country of origin, immigration status, language, and more – all impact how we engage with systems and programs, and should fundamentally inform our evaluation approach as well.

Finally, remember that culturally responsive evaluation necessitates substantive community engagement. Dr. Phillips’ work with Latinx LGBTQ populations in Chicago would not be possible without collaborations with organizations like CALOR and PRCC.

Rad Resources:

We hope that after reading this, you’re excited to learn more about how to advocate for LGBTQ Latinx communities. Here are a few places to start:

  1. Your local – or regional or national – LGBTQ or Latinx community organization. This work requires meaningful community engagement, and there’s no better place to start than with supporting the incredible work such organizations are already doing.
  2. The LGBT and La RED Get in touch with your fellow evaluators!
  3. Us! We’d love to talk more. Our e-mails are glp2@northwestern.edu (Gregory) and deg2142@tc.columbia.edu (David).

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latina/o Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators

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